I can’t remember a time when Wimbledon fortnight wasn’t the centre piece in my sporting year and Men’s Finals Day has always been incredibly special.
It’s a day with a long build up and yesterday was no different; a walk up the hills with ‘puppy’ Stan and a quick swim in Garrarus, thinking about Wimbledons past and present.
Mother might as well have been with me talking about Fred Perry and how she listened to Wimbledon Finals on the radio as a child. Then there was the year that she ‘discovered’ Andre Agassi in one of the very early rounds when I was off playing tennis somewhere. He became her prodigy and certainly served her well!
And there was a day that Mother and I stopped in Dungarvan for a cuppa, only to hear that Jim Courier had been beaten in the first or second round. Devastation of devastations for Jim and me.
And, of course, all those Men’s Finals with such great rivals ~ they flow back endlessly to wooden rackets, Dan Maskell’s dulcet tones and culminated yesterday in that thriller between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
But what a game of skill, passion, athleticism, touch, power, sportsmanship and sheer excitement was played between these two greats. I was hoping that Roger Federer, with his ballet dancer movement and flowing one-handed backhand, would win and was in ecstasy when he pulled back to win the fourth set. That fifth set had me eating cushions, nails, hiding behind the sofa, pulling my hair out … but it got to a point where I didn’t want either man to lose. I just wanted the magic to go on and on …..
The grace of Roger Federer in defeat and the humility of Novak Djokovic reduced me to tears. Yesterday, it felt like the world of tennis was a big, big winner.
It will take me a year to get over yesterday’s final ….. but I’m already thinking about Wimbledon 2015!
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same; (Rudyard Kipling)